Governor General's Award for Innovation - 2021 (last call for EOIs)


The Office of the Governor General and the Rideau Hall Foundation.


Universities Canada invites nominations for the 2021 Governor General's Innovation Awards‎.  Universities Canada is a nominating partner of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards and will be submitting nominations on behalf of its member institutions. 

The objectives of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards are to celebrate excellence in innovation across all sectors of Canadian society and inspire Canadians, particularly Canadian youth, to be entrepreneurial innovators.

The Awards are given to individuals, teams and/or organizations whose innovations are

  • Truly exceptional;
  • Transformative; and,
  • Positive in their impact on quality of life in Canada.

The awards are not intended for lifetime achievement or innovations that have not yet demonstrated impact. Rather, by recognizing active, current innovators across the breadth of our economy and society the Awards help foster an active culture that celebrates innovation that is having a meaningful impact on our lives.

In addition to being assessed on whether the innovations are truly exceptional and transformative, and are having an active and positive impact on society, nominations are assessed based on the following specific selection criteria:

  • Inspiration – how the process leading to this innovation, its implementation and its developer(s) inspire future innovators in Canada
  • Leadership – evidence of initiative, collaboration, risk-taking and problem-solving in the process of developing and implementing the innovation
  • Impact – quantifiable demonstration of the impact the innovation is having because of its successful implementation in the sector, economy, society or culture


Up to six award winners are chosen each year. The Nominees can be at any stage in their life or career. The aim is to have at least one young innovator among the winners who is 30 years of age or younger and who, individually or as leader of a team and/or organization, has been undertaking exceptional, transformative and innovative activities. Rideau Hall Foundation has indicated an interest in receiving more nominations of young innovators as well as nominations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The innovations for which nominees are proposed must be demonstrably having an active impact in the economy or society.

Nominations are sought through a national network of organizations that have been designated as nominating partners.

Nominees must be living Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Posthumous nominations are not eligible. Nominees may be from any sector of activity – the arts, sciences, business, not-for-profit or community-based, for example.


Six recipients from across Canada are recognized for their groundbreaking work and excellence in innovation.

Special Notes

Please refer to the Office of Research COVID 19 web-page for directives related to research activities at the University of Guelph.



If College-level review is required, your College will communicate its earlier internal deadlines.

Internal Deadline

If you wish to be considered for VPR nomination, please submit your Expression of Interest (see How to Apply) to

External Deadline

The University will submit its nomination to Universities Canada, a Governor General's Award for Innovation nominating partner.  

How to Apply

The Vice-President (Research) encourages nominations for this prestigious award, and will serve as nominator. If you wish to nominate a colleague or to be considered for VPR nomination, please submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to by the internal deadline. EOIs will be reviewed by the Research Innovation Office.

An Expression of Interest will include:

  • A draft letter (two-three pages) addressed to the VPR, signed by your ADR, which outlines how you/your nominee meets the criteria outlined on the Governor General's Award for Innovation website.  See particularly the Sample Nomination Form.
  • An up-to-date CV (up to 10 pages) for nominee (and each member of the team, if applicable)

For more information, contact or visit the Governor General's Award for Innovation website.  

Alert Classifications
Honours and Awards

Health and Life Sciences
Information and Communications Technology
Physical Sciences and Engineering
Social Sciences